2011 - The Year In Review
By Chad D. Baus
While there is far too much to cover in a single article, we reflect on some of the important events of 2011.
The year begins with a chorus of media editorials cheering the death of Senate Bill 239, the restaurant and car carry bill that was killed at the hands of then-Speaker Armond Budish (D), who broke a promise to gun owners and refused to call the legislature back into session and allow a vote on the legislation. Little do they know that a mirror copy of the bill, introduced within days of the editorial blitz, will be passed by the newly constituted, Republican-dominated legislature and signed into law just six months later.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona is among those shot by Jared Lee Loughner at a Tucson political event. Media immediately begin focusing blame on gun owners and the TEA Party in general, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in particular, citing the use of political metaphors such as "lock and load," "targeting opponents," the use of a bullseye on a map of districts Republicans hoped to regain at the ballot box, etc. There is, however, no smoking gun suggesting a political motive. In fact, if anything, there is at least some evidence the madman was a leftist, which differs greatly from the original portrayal of him as having been inspired by conservatives' "incendiary" language.
Headlines about the BATFE foreshadow what will in future months become a scandal more significant than Watergate when an ATF proposal to require federally licensed firearms retailers to report multiple sales of rifles is placed on hold by the White House amid stiff opposition from the firearms industry and NRA.
Committee hearings on House and Senate versions of Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix and Restoration of Rights legislation begin in the General Assembly.
WCMH (NBC Columbus) reports that while Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, Ohio chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, opposes his constituents' right to bear arms for self-defense, he is happy to accept their contributions to his own protection - to the tune of more than $1 million over four years. Meanwhile, the founder of MAIG, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, spent $100,000 of the NYPD's budget in an aggressive publicity stunt that involved sending police to Arizona to buy guns at a gun show. Bloomberg's "Fix Gun Checks" truck tour makes a stop in Youngstown to dance in the blood of the victims of a gang-style shooting that occurred earlier in the month during a beer party at a fraternity house.
H.R. 822 is introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Schuler (D-N.C.). The measure would allow any person with a valid state-issued concealed carry permit to carry a concealed firearm in any state that issues concealed firearm permits, or that does not prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms.
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa reveals to the Associated Press that he has partially corroborated the claims of whistle-blowers inside the BATFE who say that two guns sold in purchases sanctioned by federal firearms agents were later used in a shootout that left a Border Patrol agent dead near the Arizona-Mexico border. While pro-gun activists David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh have been on the story for some time, CBS News issues a press release announcing it has uncovered a gunrunning scandal within the BATFE and begins in depth coverage.
Despite polls showing overwhelming resistance to proposals for new gun control laws in the wake of the January spree killing in Tucson, President Obama officially, publicly calls for new gun control. Gun ban extremists had been hoping Obama would use the bully pulpit of the State of the Union address, but he instead chose simply to pen an op-ed which was published in The Arizona Daily Star
National Public Radio president Vivian Schiller is forced to resign after NPR Senior Vice-President Ron Schiller (no relation) was caught on videotape telling people posing as prospective NPR donors that the Tea Party movement is made up of "weird, evangelical . . . . white, middle-America, gun toting" people who are "seriously racist."
The nation commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the United States armed forces adoption of the Model 1911 as the general issue handgun.
A second ATF whistle-blower speaks out against the Obama administration's growing "Gunrunner" BATFE scandal.
Committee hearings on House and Senate versions of Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix and Restoration of Rights legislation continue in the General Assembly. Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair Ken Hanson offers proponent testimony on both bills before two House committees.
After six years' hard work, lawful concealed carry on Toledo Area Regional Transportation Agency (TARTA) buses is finally recognized.
After BATFE acting director Kenneth Melson ignored a request for documents related to the Gunrunner probe Congressman Darrell Issa issues a congressional subpoena. Newly-obtained emails show that a key gun shop owner made explicit concerns in writing last year in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' "gunwalking" scandal.
The Washington Post reports that, in a recent meeting at the White House, President Obama personally assured gun ban extremist Sarah Brady he is still secretly pursuing gun control agenda. "I just want you to know that we are working on it. We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar."
Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix and Restoration of Rights bills are passed in state Senate. Meanwhile, Republican House Speaker suggests restaurant carry votes aren't there yet, and points to opposition from Ohio Restaurant Assoc.
Buckeye Firearms Association exposes Rep. Matt Lundy (D) for having lied on his candidate survey, saying he would support Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix legislation, but then introducing anti-gun amendments and ultimately voting against it in committee just 36 days after his election. BFA publishes an article on this website, issues a press release to hundreds of news outlets in Ohio, emails thousands of pro-gun voters, and shares these facts in a newspaper advertisement published in two newspapers that cover his district. A subsequent editorial from one of the newspapers, The Lorain Morning-Journal, states that "Lundy's duplicity over endorsement should be a concern to voters."
Ohio House Representatives returning from spring recess receive a letter from Buckeye Firearms Association addressing the status of Ohio's Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix legislation. The letter presents the facts on the success of similar legislation in other states, and informs legislators that "if you have previously represented to us that you will vote for the changes contained in HB45/SB17, and your vote is other than "yea," you will have moved from our "friends" to our "foes" list." The letter also includes a copy of the advertisement BFA ran against Rep. Matt Lundy. Just one week after the letter is sent, a vote is scheduled, and the following day the bill passes the House by a 56-40 margin. Despite media calls for a veto, Governor Kasich signals his intent to sign it.
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa threatens to hold the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in contempt of Congress for its refusal to produce documents related to the "gunwalking" scandal. Attorney General Eric Holder states that he had only learned of the project, known as "Operation Fast & Furious," in the past few weeks. The claim would soon come back to haunt him.
Signaling the culmination of a lawsuit filed by Buckeye Firearms Foundation in early 2009, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Brian Corrigan orders the City of Cleveland to stop any enforcement of 19 separate local gun control ordinances, effective immediately. NRA-ILA's Chris Cox calls the victory "a long-awaited and major victory for Ohio gun owners, further confirming the Ohio Supreme Court decision that validated and clarified Ohio's preemption laws."
Buckeye Firearms Association's Linda Walker is elected to the NRA's Board of Directors.
Buckeye Firearms Association's Chad Baus publishes an article exposing The Columbus Dispatch for having participated in advocacy journalism by running a series of articles entitled "Overrun by Guns." The Dispatch failed to reveal that the articles were funded by the anti-gun Joyce Foundation, and were specifically intended to have a "major public policy impact." Baus also exposes Joyce for having funded a strategically-timed "study" which they claim proves that "gun owners who carry concealed weapons or have confronted another person with a gun are more than twice as likely to drink heavily as people who do not own guns."
Both House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) complain their investigations into the BATFE's "Project Gunrunner" and "Operation Fast & Furious" are still being stonewalled by the Justice Department. 31 U.S. House members -- all Democrats -- write to President Barack Obama, urging him to end Administration stonewalling. The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms calls for the immediate suspension, without pay, of all supervisors involved in a controversial gunrunning sting operation, including the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and his deputies, and the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate and determine who initiated this project and who approved it.
The Wisconsin state legislature passes landmark Right-to-Carry legislation, becoming the 49th state with some form of CCW law.
Having already passed its own version of Ohio's Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix legislation, the House now passes the Senate version 55 - 38. The Senate concurs 25-7, and the legislation is sent to Governor Kasich for his signature, along with Restoration of Rights legislation. Buckeye Firearms Association Leaders are on hand Thursday, June 30, for the signing of both bills by Republican Governor John Kasich.
Fresh off the signing of Ohio's Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix and Restoration of Rights legislation, Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine calls on Governor Kasich to provide strong pro-gun leadership by working with the legislature to address the large number of firearms-related issues that desperately need to be revised and improved.
Having failed in their apparent goal of creating demand for gun control legislation by allowing thousands of guns to "walk" into Mexico, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announces that the Obama administration is set to impose a series of gun control "reforms" via executive order.
Buckeye Firearms Association publishes an article by Greg Ellifritz, a full time firearms and defensive tactics training officer for a central Ohio police department, entitled "An Alternate Look at Handgun Stopping Power." The article is destined to become the most-read commentary piece in the history of the BFA website. It will earn over 100,000 reads over the next six months.
Having testified under oath to Representative Darrell Issa's House Oversight and Government Reform committee in May that he only learned about the BATFE's scandalous gunrunning operation "in the last few weeks," Attorney General Eric Holder struggles to explain his comments in light of the fact that, during a speech in Cuernavaca, Mexico on April 2, 2009, he had boasted about Operation Gunrunner, telling Mexican authorities everything he had done to ensure its success.
Meanwhile, the acting head of the BATFE meets secretly with investigators without his Justice Department attorney present. He accuses his superiors at the Justice Department of stonewalling Congress to protect political appointees in the scandal over those decisions.
The BATFE announces that it is moving ahead with a new policy requiring federal firearms licensees in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico to report purchases of two or more of some types of rifles by the same person in a five-day span. By the end of the year, investigators will uncover proof that this policy had always been the end-goal of "Operation Fast & Furious." The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) announces intentions to challenge the mandate in court.
Paul Helmke, President of Brady Campaign the Brady Campaign and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, announces he is stepping down, saying that he's undecided about his next career move. Gun owners are are left to wonder what he will tell future employers about his "accomplishments" at the Brady Center since "Had my ass handed to me in 50 states, the court system and Congress for five years" doesn't seem like much of a resume enhancer.
Dash cam video of Canton police officer Daniel Harless threatening to "execute" a concealed handgun license-holder during a traffic stop goes viral on YouTube. In the video, Harless can be heard unleashing a profanity-laced tirade, yelling "I should blast you in the mouth right now...I'm so close to caving in your head," and "you're just a stupid human being!" He continued to berate the license-holder, shouting "You want me to pull mine and stick it to your head?" "People like you don't deserve to @#$%#$ move throughout public. Period!" Later, Harless shouted "...I swear to God this little bull crap you pulled has me so hot. You know what I should have done? I tell you what I should have done. As soon as I saw your gun I shoulda taken two steps back, pulled my Glock 40, and just put ten bullets in your ass and let you drop. And I wouldn't of lost any sleep. Do you understand me? And he would have been a nice witness as I executed you because you're stupid." The Canton City Council President rails against Americans upset about cop's behavior on dash cam video, calling CCW laws "completely insane". Buckeye Firearms Foundation donates $1000 to legal defense for the Ohio licensee who was victimized in this incident.
Sean Maloney, a concealed carry instructor and supporter of Buckeye Firearms Association who is also an NRA-ILA Election Volunteer Coordinator (EVC) for Ohio's 8th congressional district, is successful in his hard-fought effort to get "no-guns" signs removed from Ohio-based United Dairy Farmers (UDF) convenience stores.
A Texas gun store foils a plot by a Muslim member of the U.S. Army to stage another attack on Ft. Hood. The incident reminds nation of need to eradicate "gun free" policies on U.S. military bases.
CBS News reports that a key ATF manager told Congress on July 26 he discussed the ATF's controversial gunwalking operation with a White House National Security staffer as early as September 2010. President Obama had previously claimed said neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder authorized or knew about the operation.
A key ATF whistle-blower implicates the FBI in the ATF gun-running operation, saying that the NICS system had certain ineligible buyers flagged for special treatment, and that when a sale request came through, it was routed to a special FBI office that approved the purchases. This implies that the FBI may have been complicit in the scheme, allowing BATFE's mules to get possession of guns when they should have been blocked.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for America's firearms industry, files a lawsuit challenging the legal authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) under the Gun Control Act to compel 8,500 federally licensed firearms retailers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas to report the sale of two or more rifles.
The Department of Justice announces that the three BATFE agents who were responsible for the "Fast and Furious" debacle in Phoenix, and participated in the attempted cover-up, have been promoted.
Yet another Ohio journalist exploits a provision in Ohio law to compile and publish a list of elected officials in the Buckeye State who have obtained concealed handgun licenses. The Middletown Journal article appears to be the first use of Ohio's media access loophole to expose a list of license-holders since the Ohio legislature attempted to clarify its intent in giving journalists access to the records via passage of House Bill 9 in 2006, and allowing journalists to view, but not copy, the list. Within weeks, State Representative Joe Uecker introduces HB328, legislation which seeks to modify a provision in Ohio law which allows journalists access to the private confidential information of persons who hold concealed handgun licenses. Under the proposal, journalists would need to submit a complaint to the court of common pleas in order to request permission to view the records. The court would then hold a public hearing, at which evidence could be presented by the journalist as to how being allowed to view to the records would serve the public interest.
Just a few weeks after he met secretly with investigators without his Justice Department attorney present, and accused his superiors at the Justice Department of stonewalling Congress to protect political appointees in the scandal over those decisions, acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson is reassigned to a lesser post in the Justice Department. The U.S. attorney for Arizona was also pushed out Tuesday as "fallout from Operation Fast and Furious reached new heights."
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Louisiana State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson sign an agreement that permits reciprocity between their states for citizens who have valid concealed carry permits.
Presidential-hopeful Rick Perry announces his policy on gun control: 'Use Both Hands.'
The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security announces that it will hold a hearing on H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011.
A disciplinary hearing for Canton police officer Daniel Harless, who was caught on dash cam video in June threatening to "execute" a concealed handgun license-holder at a traffic stop, is postponed. Harless' police union president claims he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Buckeye Firearms Association volunteer Sean Maloney receives NRA's Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award.
Ohio concealed carry licensees, and gun owners in general, benefit from multiple changes in Ohio laws that take effect on September 30 thanks to passage of Ohio's Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix and restoration of Rights legislation.
Video of President Obama discussing 'Fast and Furious' before Holder testified under oath that he knew about the operation is played widely in the media. A CBS News reporter says Obama administration officials at the White House and justice department have screamed and swore at her over her coverage of the "Fast and Furious" scandal.
Having demoted former acting ATF director Ken Melson after he met secretly with investigators without his Justice Department attorney present, and accused his superiors at the Justice Department of stonewalling Congress to protect political appointees in the scandal over those decisions, Attorney General Holder appoints his own friendly fox to guard the ATF hen house.
Ohio media announce opposition to HB328, which would force journalists who want access to concealed handgun license-holders' private information to seek the permission of a court in a public hearing. The Ohio Newspaper Association fails to explain why they believe a publicly-announced hearing held in an open courtroom would be less open than journalists being able to go to a sheriff's office and obtain the confidential information in secret.
Buckeye Firearms Association leaders Larry Moore, Aaron Kirkingburg, and "Buckeye" Dan Allen continue to participate in discussions at the Ohio Division of Wildlife to open deer hunting to firearms other than certain handguns, shotguns and muzzle-loading rifles.
The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) names Buckeye Firearms Association their "Organization of the Year" for 2011.
The Ohio Gun Collectors Association donates $3000 to Buckeye Firearms Foundation.
Attorney General Eric Holder refuses to apologize for murder of border agent, and says "Fast & Furious" didn't lead to death. The NRA and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin join calls for President Obama to fire Holder over his involvement in the "Gunrunner/ Fast & Furious" scandal.
A crime wave in the areas surrounding The Ohio State University, with students being robbed at gun point, prompts renewed calls for passage of legislation to allow concealed handgun license-holders to carry on campus.
A judge throws out "failure to notify" case against a concealed carry licensee whose life was threatened by a Canton police officer at a traffic stop.
The Center For Public Integrity publishes a Joyce Foundation-funded expose on Buckeye Firearms Association. The article garners national attention.
The New York Times quotes Buckeye Firearms Association Legislative Chair in an article examining the restoration of firearm rights to those convicted of disqualifying crimes. BFA Chair Jim Irvine will later participate in a live radio program in Los Angeles with the author of the NYT article.
The U.S. House of Representatives passes an important self-defense measure that would enable millions of Right-to-Carry permit holders across the country to carry concealed firearms while traveling outside their home states. H.R. 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, passed by a majority bipartisan vote of 272 to 154. All amendments aimed to weaken or damage the integrity of this bill were defeated.
The Ohio Gun Collector's Association (OGCA) returned to the I-X Center in Cleveland on October 15-16, 2011, for their first event in almost 10 years. The return is the latest positive outcome resulting from Buckeye Firearms Foundation's successful lawsuit against the City Of Cleveland for their continued persecution of gun owners.
Sean Maloney, member of the leadership team with Buckeye Firearms Association, who was recently presented the NRA-ILA's "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award," is further honored in the Ohio Statehouse.
CBS News reports that internal emails obtained by the news organization show that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discussed using their covert operation "Fast and Furious" to argue for controversial new rules about gun sales. When the scandalous operation was eventually exposed, officials went ahead with the implementation of the rules, which requiring federal firearms licensees in Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico to report purchases of two or more of some types of rifles by the same person in a five-day span. In the continued fallout from the scandal, nearly two-dozen Republicans announce they are backing legislation stating that Congress "has lost confidence" in Eric Holder to continue as attorney general.
Presidential-hopeful Rick Perry vows 'I will only appoint pro-gun justices to U.S. Supreme Court." Perry continues to be the only GOP candidate to be making his support for gun rights a part of his campaign.
After two postponements, a disciplinary hearing for Canton police officer Daniel Harless, who in a profanity-laced tirade threatened to "execute" a concealed handgun license-holder at a traffic stop in June, finally took place. Harless failed to appear. A ruling will be announced in January. Harless could be suspended or fired.